This Season

arrowPast Seasonsarrow

Concert Program Cover

First Concert of the 42nd Season

 

Sunday, November 9th, 1980
Cordier Auditorium
Robert Jones, Conductor

  Overture to L'Italiana in Algeri Gioacchino Rossini  
       
  Symphony in D Major Juan Crisostomo Arriaga  
 

I. Adagio-Allegro
II. Andante
III. Minuetto (Allegro)
IV. Allegro con moto

 
       
  Intermission  
       
  Suite No. 1 in C Major, S. 1066 J.S. Bach  
 

Overture
Courante
Forlane
Bourée I & II

 
       
  Music for Children William Walton  
 

1. Andantino
2. Vivo
3. Adagio
4. Gaiamente
5. Giocoso
6. Allegro
7. Larghetto
8. Leggiero
9. Largo
10. Alla marcia

 
  Special appreciation to Allison Adams for the art work which
accompanies
Music for Children.
 
       

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Overture to L'Italiana in Algeri
(The Italian Girl in Algiers)
Gioacchino Rossini
(1792-1868)
 
 

L'Italiana in Algeri is a typical opera buffa (comic opera), replete with improbable coincidences, sly deceptions and virtue defended... all leading to a happy ending.

Mustafa is the arrogant Bey of Algeria, who, tired of his faithful wife, Elvira, decides to marry her off to his Italian slave Lindoro. Thus disencumbered, he would pay suit to one of the beautiful Italian girls Lindoro had told him of. He sends his pirate chief Haly off to find a suitable Italiana, on pain of death for failure to find one.

Luckily for Mustafa, and certainly for Haly, an Italian vessel chances to founder on the Algerian shore, debarking the beautiful Isabella and her middle-aged suitor, Taddeo, who poses as her uncle(!). She has come looking for her lover, Lindoro (!!), who had been lost at sea in those waters.

Mustafa is enchanted by Isabella, who, quite aware of her charms, devises a means of gaining freedom for herself, Lindoro, and Taddeo. Mustafa is throughly outwitted, and as Isabella, Lindoro and Taddeo sail away to Italy, the Bey admits his folly, and magnanimously takes back his adoring wife Elvira. (This was written, remember, in 1813!)

The Overture opens very slowly with a six note motif, pizzicato. After a loud chord, the oboe picks up the theme to the background of plucked strings. The low strings suggest the (comically) menacing Mustafa, just before two loud chords announce the allegro section... a very Rossinian jaunty bit of military mien, complete with trumpet fanfares.

This is immediately followed by the overture's best remembered theme, taken up first by the oboe, then by other woodwinds. There is a short portion of scurrying violins chased by woodwinds, (perhaps meant to suggest the amorous pursuits of Mustafa) leading to the typical Rossinian crescendo.

After a brief languid interlude another theme appears, closely related to the first. It if followed by the well-loved theme mentioned above, succeeded again by the scurrying of violins, leading to the final crescendo.


 
       
  Symphony in D Major Juan Crisostomo Arriaga
(1806-1826)
 
 

Arriaga was born in Bilbao, Spain, and is Spain's only well-known representative of the Classical style. He was a very precocious composer, writting a "Nonetto" at the age of 12, and publishing an opera, Los esclavos felices, when he was 14. At the age of 18, he was appointed instructor of counterpoint and harmony at the Paris conservatory. In his brief life he wrote two operas, an oratorio, a mass, the Nonetto, three quartets, several cantatas, and many short pieces in addition to the work to be performed today. He died of tuberculosis before he was twenty, one year before Beethoven, and two years before Schubert. He may remind you of both.

The Symphony in D Major is one of Arriaga's last works. It is in four movements:

I. Adagio, Allegro vivace
II. Andante
III. Minuetto
IV. Allegro con molto


 
       
  Suite Number One in C Major for Orchestra Johann Sebastian Bach
(1685-1750)
 
 

Concert-goers often disparage "popular" music, citing its ephemeral quality, and pointing out that we still enjoy "the Classics" from hundreds of years ago, while the "popular" music from those same times is long forgotten. What is also forgotten is that much "classical" music is derived from the popular music of the day.

The early "suite" was an attempt to develop a musical form suitable to instrumental composition. In fact, it has been called an embryonic concerto. This is an observation particularly appropriate to the Bach suite we hear today. The form is that of a series (that's what "suite" means) of short piecees which alternate in temp for variety, while usually staying in the same key, for the sake of unity. The idea for this alternation of fast-slow came from the dance-floor. The individual piecees are ordinarily named for popular dances, and sometimes actual themes are "borrowed" from popular music of the day, although this is unlikely in the Bach suite we are to hear.

More recently, the suite has come to mean a selection of short pieces taken from an opera, ballet, or incidental music for a play. As in the case of the Walton suite, the work is not derived from a longer work, but still stays close to the dance.

That Bach was conscious of the relationship of the suite to the theater is made apparent by his use of the word "Ouverture" for the opening movement. In fact, there are a lot of other names for a suite, like "Partita," "Sonata da camera," "Ordre," and ever "Ouverture," for the whole suite, not just the opening movement.

In the C Major suite, the Ouverture is the longest single movement, and consists of three parts: Prelude, Fugue, and Coda, which develops some of the themes heard earlier. The impressive introduction contrasts nicely with the dances to follow. Throughout the Ouverture there is a playful alternation between the tutti and the three wind instruments. This is a characteristic of the Concerto Grosso, and explains the statement that a Baroque suite is an "embryonic concerto."

Most of the dances appear in pairs, with the first one played again after the second, to form "book-ends."

The Courante is a dance of aristocratic origin in 3/2 time. This is followed by the Forlane, a dance of Italian origin. Finally come two Bourees, the second of which features the oboes and bassoon.


 
       
  Music for Children Sir William Walton
(b. 1902)
 
 

Sir William Walton (knighted in 1951 for his achievements in music) was largely self-taught. He is not a prolific composer, but his music covers a wide range of styles and forms. He has written two symphonies, an oratorio, an opera, concertos for viola, violin, cello, a Sinfornia Concertante for piano and orchestra, several ballets, overtures, suites, and a good deal of film music, most notably for Henry V, Richard II, and Hamlet. During the twenties, he became friendly with the Sitwells, and wrote music inspired by their words (Belshazzar's Feast and Façade). It was this latter, a parodic suite to accompany poetry spoken through a mask, that made him famous, or perhaps notorious, depending on your view. Some of his supporters are embarassed by his early music, typified by Façade, thinking of it as the work of a youth seduced by the cynicism of the age. They prefer the more serious music of the viola concerto or Belshazzar's Feast.

Others admire the early work, likening Walton to Eric Satie, and they are apt to criticize such works as Belshazzar as "theatrical" or "pompous."

The work heard today shows Walton's lighter side. Music for Children is a short work. It is a suite of ten pieces, eminintly danceable, in the tradition of the suites of Rameau or Bach, though not in that style.

Number I is a quiet, wistful piece, featuring the oboe, and reminding us of a child running scales while daydreaming of other things.

Number II is a sprightly dance showing off the choirs of the orchestra successively: winds (with horns), strings, and percussion.

Number III is a slow, pastoral piece reminding us of Sibelius and featuring muted violas.

Number IV is a fast, prancing sort of piece with pizzicato strings and flashy trumpets.

Number V is a slow dance, almost a jig, if you can imagine a slow jig. The tuba is stressed.

Number VI is quiet, but sprightly, featuring oboe and strings.

Number VII is slow and melancholy, recalling Grieg.

Number VIII is a fast, syncopated piece.

Number IX is a soft, mysterious piece suggesting a game of hide-and-seek.

Number X is a lively march, with fanfares, turning into a Russian dance.


 
       
 

Orchestra Personnel

 
  Violin
Marion Etzel, Concertmaster
Carla Slotterback *
Mary Berkebile
Ruth Berkebile
Linda Hare
Ervin Orban
Rosemary Manifold
J. Renée Rose +
Kirsten Rupel +
Britta Samuelson +
Mary Weatherholt +

Viola
Ronda Mendenhall *+
Ethel Anderson
Gordon Collins
Denise Lutter

Cello
Jerry Lessig *
Robert Allen
Christine Beery
Joellen Placeway

Bass
Calvin Bisha *
Jerry Whipkey +

Piccolo
Thomas G. Owen, Jr.

Flute
Thomas G. Owen, Jr. *
Sharon Drawert +

Oboe
Carla A. Joseph +
George Donner

English Horn
George Donner
Clarinet
Margaret Parker Trentacosti *
Jane Grandstaff

Bassoon
Amy Smith *+
Mary Patterson +
Amy Statler +

Horn
Michael Wells *
Eric Jones +
Terri Lahr +
Mike Satterthwaite

Trumpet
Keith Whitford *
Teresa Durham +

Trombone
D. Larry Dockter *
Brian Hartman
David Weatherholt +

Tuba
Marvin Crider +

Timpani
James Brooks

Percussion
Andre Hawkins +
Mary Mannion +
Lisa Savage +

Harp
Nancy Morse

Harpsichord
Michele Miller +

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MC student